Black Friday online demand to peak at 8am, up 55% on the daily average

Online demand on Black Friday will peak at 8am on 24 November, up 55% on the daily average, according to Summit, specialists in online retailing, with just under 50% of Black Friday visits taking place before midday.

Insight from ecommerce specialists, Summit, using data from over ten years of peak trading, based on hundreds of millions of online searches, suggests that, as well as the number of Black Friday visitors peaking at 8am, we will also see another spike in online demand earlier in the day at 1am, four times more than the daily average, as midnight shoppers rush online to capitalise on early bargains.

This follows the move by many retailers, such as Argos and Curry's PC World, who are increasingly starting Black Friday promotions at midnight; indeed, the period between midnight and 1am was Argos' biggest trading hour on Black Friday last year, with 8,000 visits per minute and 15 orders per second.

Just as consumers' online demand fluctuates throughout Black Friday, the devices used also changes as shoppers move across a retailers' sales channels from mobile, to desktop, to tablet. Mirroring online demand, for instance, Summit predicts that mobile searches will also peak between 8 – 9am, representing almost 10% of all visits per hour, as bargain hunters seek out discounts during their morning commutes. Similarly, tablet based searches will peak between 9pm and 10pm.

Martin Corcoran, Head of Insight at Summit, said: "Retailers need to understand the role each device plays in the Black Friday journey. Mobile is of increasing importance during the morning commute, as customers rush to get the best offers. However, in the evening shoppers prefer to 'dual screen' and this is where paid media supports TV advertising which acts as an important buying trigger, sending people online while they watch TV."

"If retailers hold the majority of their online advertising budget until after the working day at 5pm, they risk missing nearly 70% of Black Friday's traffic and sales, so they need to front-load their budget phasing during the day to ensure they are top of mind during the conversion phase in the Black Friday purchase journey," he continued.

"With Black Friday offers, retailers should be creating a sense of urgency using real-time stock level information, and 'on the hour' promotions, whilst adding value for customers with flexible delivery options, and bundle offers in the high demand categories. To execute on this, it's fundamental that retailers have an adaptive hour-by-hour media plan in place that can flex depending on trading performance throughout the day, " he concluded.

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